I took a sunshine day yesterday. It’s a new thing I’m trying…and I’m kind of a fan. I bailed on my group and went to my Mothers house instead, where I sat in the garden and got some studying done. It was nice and necessary to help me correct my vitamin D deficiency plus I got to see my nephew (ridiculously gorgeous child) and hang out with my little brother for a bit before we had to go to his martial arts class. I am trying hard to settle into this life thing but that feeling like I don’t fit is something that I can’t shake. I’m not even sure how to explain it. It’s not an obvious thing though and you wouldn’t know unless you were looking closely or knew what to be looking for. If you did, you’d just see how everything’s a little out of sync but not be able to put your finger on exactly what.
Today I had to go to the dentist and he was not gentle with me. It was a new guy and I’m surprised my mouth is still in tact. He didn’t really say anything through out and then in the end told me I was going to be needing some extensive work done. Then he asked me if I had been eating a lot of sugar? I told him that I had just spent 5 months in treatment being made to eat desserts and high energy foods…so yea you could say that. I told him that I had an Eating Disorder and then his face fell a little. He looked embarrassed as he apologised because yes he had just read that in my notes and now felt like an idiot. There was a bit of an awkward silence…then he thought telling me that I looked ok now was the right thing to say next. He then gave me a lecture on smoking and if I was going to have to still eat cakes/sweets etc then to do it all at once. I go back two weeks to have the first appointment for the work that needs doing. I’m dreading it. The last time I had to, I fainted because of the drilling. It seems you can’t win, you screw up things by being ill, you screw up things by engaging in the treatment. Clearly the only answer is to have not even gone there in the first place.
Weirdly I also had to email my old psychiatrist from the psychiatric intensive care unit today. I met him the other night at this AGM he was giving a talk at. I was there to get him to agree to do an interview at a later date for one of our projects. I was terrified and even though logically I knew that I was free and could have left at any point, there was that fear that he was going to lock me up again. I felt like I was back on that ward a few times. Thankfully I don’t think he remembered me and if he did then he didn’t say anything. Listening to him was fascinating though and he has some really interesting thoughts that I could have talked to him for hours about. I’m glad that I went even if I was dreading it before and he’s agreed to take part in the project, so I’ve just done a follow-up email now. I should not have my old psych’s personal email address…part of me thinks it’s a crossing a line even if we are both pretending that we have no memories of each other but there isn’t much I can do about it. I need this for work stuff so…it’s just the way it is.
Food is not moving. So it’s not getting any more restrictive but neither is it getting better. There are so many excuses on the tip of my tongue for why I’m not challenging myself and I’m trying not to go there but it is so easy, so comfortable and familiar. I can’t go there. I want healthy even if I can’t get this image that I found of myself on my computer out of my head. It wasn’t better like that (repeat and repeat and repeat).
I hope your day has been good to you.
Have you ever thought to yourself how ridiculous this disorder is? Seriously! What are we doing? We keep going down the same path hoping that we’ll reach a different outcome but it’s not going to happen. Every time I give in, every time I listen to Anorexia, all I am doing is delaying my life, making the years of sickness stack up till it finally kills me. I want to know what life is like without the Eating Disorder influencing my thoughts and decisions because I don’t have that. I was so young when it started and at some point about 8 years ago I crossed that border of having the illness for half of my life. I don’t want to be saying the same thing when I’m 50 something years old…I want to stop doubting myself, stop being so resentful to my body, figure out how I trust it. I am so tired of being in a battle with it, so tired of doing the same thing day after day, hoping or waiting for a time when it’s over. Maybe I’ve been passive, still expecting that I’ll wake up one day and it won’t be there and that’ll be the end. Yet as time marches on, I am becoming more sceptical of that thought. It’s not going to just go away, is it?
I was meeting a couple of friends today (separately) and it firstly made me remember that there was a reason I chose this path…the recovery one and secondly, it jolted me into seeing how cruel this disorder actually is and how it is not a friend or an ally who is going to save you but a parasite. I saw how I didn’t want to be. The friend I saw in the morning was someone that I met in treatment this time round. She’s an amazing person, strong, powerful, has a wonderful heart and she’s doing ok. She threw herself into her treatment and her recovery and now she is building a life that doesn’t include Anorexia. Whilst we were talking, we were also talking about the other people that we were in treatment with. Checking in with who we had seen or hadn’t, if we’d heard how people are doing…it was hard when we talked about those that are going back into hospital or those that still are remaining on the roundabout, lying to themselves about the reality of their situation. It’s just an incredibly sad thing isn’t it? The repetition, the endlessness of it and ultimately the pointlessness of it. I think of what my life could look like and I want to choose that. I want adventures and laughing and education and work and play and friends…those things are not going to happen if I relapse. I’ll be honest as well that its possible that I’ve been heading that way. My diet is becoming very similar to how it was pre-treatment and for the first time in a while that doesn’t feel ok to me. It’s not ok, not even a little bit. I can tell myself that it doesn’t matter as much as I want and try to minimise it but that’s not real. It matters. The fact that I could screw everything up again matters.
The second friend I saw, well…she reminded me that this illness is not what I want. She isn’t doing too great. I met her the first time I was in treatment and over the years I have watched the Eating Disorder reduce her and I want to pull her away from it. I want to protect her from it before it ends her life. I worry that it will take her and I want to scream that it can’t. She’s too good of a person for this. She deserves better. I see her fight to get through the days and hold on to her positivity and she does but that doesn’t make it fine. I admire her for fighting it but equally I don’t want to go there again. I don’t want to be that bone tired and hurt ever again in my life. Anorexia is not a fashion statement or a bikini ready body but a complete wasting of everything. I wish people could see that when they make their judgements, when they think it’s as simple as eating a slice of cake and putting on a bit of weight. No one chooses this. I didn’t choose this. My friends did not choose this. We are choosing recovery though because if we don’t…if we continue or you continue then we are essentially just waiting to die. There is no life.
I’m trying to hold on to that thing that made me say Yes to treatment, that moment in the middle of an event when I looked up at my manager last August, barely able to keep myself upright anymore and said “I can’t do this”. I don’t want to relive that moment ever again. I can’t.
I hope your day has been kind to you.
Practical support is kicking my ass these days…although admittedly it is early days. I have done 4 now. One snack and three lunches. I should probably explain what practical is right? Well, basically a member of my treatment team comes round and supports me to have food either at a snack time or they will come and have lunch with me. I think they totally pulled the short straw in terms of work because it seems that they don’t actually get a lunch hour. The thing is that I expected it to be hard the first time or having a snack when I don’t usually have one but today I had my third lunch with my dietician and it really hurt. Not physically…but mentally. You see even though I knew things were slipping and getting worse, I hadn’t really realised if I’m honest. It’s easy to convince yourself that it’s sort of fine when it’s just you and you’re not paying attention. There is no one to call me out on my shit and so I fall back into what’s normal and unfortunately for me, the Eating Disorder is normal. It’s not coming back suddenly this time, kicking and spitting in my face, no…this time it’s creeping in quietly. If a person recovery is classed as a warrior then maybe that makes Anorexia a ninja…I don’t know who is more likely to win. Anyway my lunch, she noticed that I was using certain behaviours which were consistent with the ones that my nurse pointed out to my last week (Go Treatment Team for being on the same page!). Then I was supposed to have another component to my meal but couldn’t do it. I wanted to tell her that I knew I was being ridiculous but it was a like a shutter came down. It wasn’t even something that was up for discussion. I felt like I had failed her, that I had failed me and that maybe the situation was simply hopeless. Do I really believe that I can get better? I don’t know. I’m less sure than I have been in a while which is saying something.
I feel like I am drifting right now but being annoyingly busy. I don’t know how to just be…I got in tonight after group, having attempted articulate to some extent what I’ve been experiencing (apparently I have lost sight of my reality a little and I agree a bit with that) and signed up to an online course that a friend told me about. I barely have any free time and I’m going to do this!!! What is wrong with me? Am I just purposefully trying to run myself into the ground again? It’s so hard to find balance in life and yet I can’t seem to make myself stop. I think it’s equally that I am afraid of being still but also that I have lost years of my life to disorder and destruction and now I have to make up for all that I have missed in less than half the time.
Insane days start tomorrow and somehow I am going to have to mange and get through it and not let Anorexia beat the crap out of me. Fun, right?
I hope you are being good to yourselves.
It feels like I’m hiding and nobody really knows me anymore. Maybe they never did…maybe I never even knew myself. All I know is that I am this person that is hurtling through life and I am not enjoying it. I am not ok with any of it. The memories of my past wash over me and some days I can barely breathe from the weight of them. I want to scream at somebody to take it away from me. Undo it all. I cry in my car as I’m driving along, shouting into the nothingness and instead of it easing something, it just takes more from me. The hurt does not lessen. The reality of the situation does not change either.
I’ve been thinking that even if I manage to recover. Even if I manage to maintain my weight at a healthy point for the rest of my life. Even if I can eat despite the shouting of Anorexia in my head, none of that actually fixes why I developed an Eating Disorder in the first place. That bit remains. That bit is the poison that I can not get out of my system. It is times like this that I slightly miss my therapist. In the end I didn’t have to pretend as much anymore with her. She knew bits and pieces, not a lot but enough. I think this is coming from me feeling like a bit of a fraud. I do a lot of public speaking and training these days and that includes sharing my own experiences. I tell my story and I answer questions but whenever ask me what caused it, what drove me to that level of destruction, I am consistently vague. I hmm and ahh and tell them it was a combination of things and all of it is true but alone those reasons were not enough to push me to where I am. There is still so much that I cannot even begin to admit to but it’s there, hovering on the edge of my consciousness. Anorexia helped blur it out when nothing could take it away but I’m not supposed to have Anorexia anymore though. I’m supposed to be leaving it behind and aiming for recovery. I am afraid that when that happens, I won’t be able to hide it anymore and that in the end all I am going to be left with is a big ugly mess.
It’s confusing and conflicting and I want to feel whole but maybe I never will be able to. Maybe once something is damaged in a certain way it can never be repaired. It feels like I broke a bone but never got it treated, so it’s knitted together in the wrong way. The only way it can be made usable again is to re-break it and set it…but even then the damage is too much. You have to learn to live with it. Live with the pain, live with the aches, live with the fact that it will never be what it could have been and it certainly won’t ever be the same again.
I hope your day has shown you some kindness.
There are cracks appearing and some days I think they are going to split wide open and swallow me up. There are some that I have been trying to paper over but I realise that it’s not realistic to expect it to last. Sooner or later I’m going to fall in if I’m not careful. I keep slipping up, saying things that I want to keep unsaid and then I wonder why I want them left unsaid. The only answer is that it’s probably not me that wants the quiet but the Eating Disorder instead. It’s always wanted my silence. It made promises that if I just kept my mouth shut then I would lose weight, nobody would get hurt, it would all be fine in the end. Clearly it wasn’t fine and by the third hospital admission I began to doubt if there was any truth at all in it. So why knowing this, do I still find myself falling for it again? For feeling bad when I talk, or guilty for being honest. My nurse thinks that it’s because the Eating Disorder is raging in my brain and as much as I hate to admit, potentially could be right.
I fell apart yesterday. I think part of it was tiredness and the lack of sleep that lingered from the night before. I went to my group which I wasn’t exactly looking forward to. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to formulate a sentence but I figured that I could go and just fade into the background. Unfortunately those plans were royally ruined when I turned up and no one else did. My group turned into one to one with the only saving grace being that it was my nurse who was facilitating the group. I let it go. I told her that things were hard, that I didn’t know how to keep fighting anymore, that sometimes my brain leaves and goes to a place where the only thought that is there is “What is the point?”. I told her that things were going out of my diet faster than I could keep up. That the rules were coming back but that it was all fine because I was maintaining my weight even though I hated it. I started to cry and then apologised for crying. I still equate it as weakness in myself, that I don’t have the right to cry over something that feels like my fault no matter how much education or insight I have. The thing is though is that my nurse is really good at her job. She asked me to try and distinguish between what were Eating Disorder thoughts and what were my thoughts. She reminded that I have done this before, several times and it never got me anywhere other than back in the hospital and I didn’t want that. I don’t want that. I don’t even want to imagine the possibility of going back. She told me that I had just had to get one thing back to how it was a couple of weeks ago and that I didn’t have to do it all at once. All I could tell her that was that I felt guilty and wrong for eating, and guilty and wrong for restricting and I was so very tired of feeling both things. Her response was that the longer that I leave it, the more I give into the disordered thoughts, and keeping searching for the temporary quiet that restriction brings, the harder it’s going to grip on to me and come back swinging twice as hard and twice as fast…and she’s right. If I keep listening to what the Eating Disorder is telling me then what has all this been for?
One of the things that she has asked me to do is to trust them. Trust them the with my diet and follow their meal plan without tweaking or trying to change it. Trust them that they will help me maintain my weight and not let me gain out of my target range. Trust that they are not the enemy.
I don’t know if I know how to. It might be stupidity or ego or that sense of knowing better that stops me. However I am also aware that doing it my way never achieved anything either. I haven’t it done it their way. I never gave them chance to prove me wrong. Maybe it’s time I tried, otherwise I may as well just walk away now.
I’m not a fan of quiet restless days. They seem to eat away at my brain till all I have left are the thoughts that make me question everything about the universe. I have never been the type to be able to leave things alone but I’m not sure that in the grand scheme of things that that is such a terrible thing to do. Maybe it means that I give myself a headache more often than I like but in a way it also means that I don’t let things go. I don’t see something wrong in the world and choose to ignore it because that is how it has always been. I believe in changing things and making them right when they are wrong. I find the world to be a worrying place at the moment but sometimes I am not sure how I do try and change it. Earlier today I read a tweet by a doctor who had just admitted a 10-year-old in to hospital for an Eating Disorder. 10 years old! It is an incredibly sad thing but what probably makes it worse is that it is not uncommon. The news in the UK this week has been focused on the push of healthy eating in schools. Are we taking it too far? In our adult pursuit of reaching this state of health that is unbalanced and restrictive, we end up having 80% of 10 years olds having a fear of being fat and 80% have also tried dieting at some point. Does that not terrify you? People talk about the obesity epidemic the west is facing and yet why are we not talking about how the rates of Eating Disorders in both males and females are soaring and have been for some time? We let all this self hate spill from our lips and we forget who may be listening. We forget that how we understand things is not the same way that a child will understand them. It has to stop and when we teach kids about healthy eating, we teach them that healthy eating means eating a balanced diet of everything, that nothing is truly terrible or not allowed. There is a difference between guidelines and rules.
See…chocolate and sweets are recommended by the NHS.
The next generation is constantly bombarded. They see these images in the media, they go in to schools and get told off for having unhealthy foods, they are constantly told that if they do not eat less and move more than they are going to get fat and fat is a terrible thing to be! I know what it’s like to grow up with those messages, with the people around me hating themselves, hating their weight, hating that they have needs and desires in regards to food and although it didn’t cause my Eating Disorder, it didn’t help. It certainly doesn’t help my recovery when I hear it now. I’m a fully grown adult person these days and even I am swayed and tested by what I hear and see. Can you imagine how a child deals with that? Instead of telling them that they weigh too much, or their clothes are too big, we should be telling them that they are worthy, that they are good people and deserve to feel strong. We build kids who like themselves, have better self-esteem, better relationships and then all those scary statistics might begin to drop. The more we tell people what is right or wrong, what foods to eat or not to eat, the more we are just fixing the surface problem. Education is important but I think what is needed in the end is a different kind of education.
I know that many of you who read my blog have struggled or still are struggling with an Eating Disorder so I know you get it…and I also know that overwhelming sense of fear that you feel when you see someone else begin to fail or get themselves caught up in the mess of this disorder. You want to catch them…you want to stop the crash. We’re not always going to be able to but maybe…we stop one person before that hate grows in them and makes them hurt themselves in this way. A child should learn to respect their bodies, whatever it’s size and know that its ok to look after it. It’s what I wanted, I’m pretty sure it’s what you would have wanted…so lets try make it more of a reality for the next generation.
It’s possible I’m experiencing random manic mini breakdowns every now and again lately. I’m not sure what comes over me but suddenly feel this need to be a certain way, overcompensate with the smiles so that no one can quite figure out how much I’m hurting inside. It’s not ideal and I think I may have pushed the boundaries today. I went to my group as usual but I was the only one there. The dietician who was running it said that I could use the space however I wanted to, which was a little directionless for me but I tried to go with. There has been a series on the TV for the last few weeks that I have been watching called ‘The truth about…sugar/calories/fat (three separate episodes)’ and they have left me somewhat confused and left the Eating Disordered part of my brain raging in turmoil. All the rules that I had, the things I believed or made me feel safe were questioned in these programmes and I’ll be honest I feel lost. What’s more is that I am disappointed in myself for feeling that way because I shouldn’t. I should not be trying to live by a set of rules that have brought me nothing but misery. So I told her this but I don’t think I was really wanting an answer or at least not the answer she gave me which was basically her telling me that this is why recovery is about trying to move away from the rules and numbers that a person can get stuck in. We moved on from that and I was trying to explain to her how I can’t justify having something I deem to be higher in fat for both my main meal and for dessert. It would have been understandable if the argument was about something that the whole world thinks isn’t great but it wasn’t. I don’t really want to say what the foods were here because I think I could be triggering for some people so I will just say that it ended up with me, saying I was being ridiculous, laughing about it, badly changing the subject and simply saying “Ok that was great, thanks, I’m going to go now…I’ll see you around” and then getting up and walking out the door. It wasn’t good guys. I’m freaking out generally.
I want it to be simple. I want to stop my brain from arguing itself all the time because I am knackered from all this excessive thinking but that can’t happen. Even if I walked away from recovery it’s not going to happen because the Eating Disorder will still exist. I hate that it exists. I want to be mad at it. I want to be so angry that I kick it in the face and never entertain it again but I fear that it’s always going to have its little claws in me and make me trip myself up all the time. When does it get easier?
I hope your day has been kind to you.
Your body is in trouble. It is saying to you ‘put me on the floor because I cannot stand up and do what I need to do to keep you alive at the same time’.
There are some words that I hear which are more powerful than others. Words that cut through the cloud of Anorexic thoughts and drags my own mind out in to the harsh realities of what I have been doing to myself. Something about them sticks…makes me question what I thought I knew…what I made myself believe. The quotation you see above is an example of that. Last week in a nutrition class these are the words that were spoken by my dietician in regards to what your body goes through and what it thinks when you limit your carbohydrate intake. For once I actually felt sorry for my body. I saw it as this thing that was separate to me and instead of hating it, I felt bad for it. For years I have repeatedly made it work harder than it needed to do. I have driven to the point of it not knowing how to keep itself going anymore. I broke it. I damaged it. I can’t help but think ‘what gave me the right to do that?
The trouble is though that I still find myself torn between having that experience of being apologetic to my body but at the same time, not being able to bear the skin that I live in or the weight that holds me down. I would love to just see my legs as the things that support me and gets me from A to B. I would be happy to just think that my stomach is nothing more than a place to house my organs and that to protect them, there has to be cushion. Yet…I don’t. I see legs that I want to make smaller, and a stomach that makes me squirm. I see the space that is filled and then all I can think is “What gives you the right to take up this amount of space? How dare you?”. I am still measuring my worth based on my size and yet logically I know that it is a false belief. The number on the scales or in the tags of my clothes does not determine who I am as a person but I doubt that logic.
Everything about my body is difficult to bear at the moment. It takes me hours to get dressed. I bite my lip to stop from crying when I see myself in the mirror. I avoid my own eyes because I am afraid of what I am going to see there. I think I’m scared that I am going to see regret and not for the way that I have been living but for choosing recovery and weight restoration. Everyday the thought is there of did I make a mistake? and most days I don’t have an answer for that. I’ve lost count of the number of people who have told me that in time it will get easier, that I’ll get used to it…but quite honestly I don’t know if I will. I don’t know if I want to but the really crap thing is that I don’t want to go back to slowly killing myself. I don’t want to be physically damaging myself anymore. I guess for now there isn’t really an answer. I don’t want to go back but I cannot imagine how I keep going. I just know that I have to.
I hope your day is good to you.
I’ve had a lot on my mind these last few days and too often I find my thoughts are wondering to places that it probably shouldn’t go. I keep getting lost in the past and how things once were, the things that I used to do, the life that I used to live and every time I go there I feel like I am being punched in the heart. The other day I was making dinner and all of a sudden it was suddenly a few years earlier and all I could think was “What are you doing? This is completely against the rules. This is not your dinner”. I forgot that I don’t live by those rules anymore and neither do I eat the foods that I used to eat. Then I think of the foods that I used to eat and can’t figure out how I ever came to eat that way. Warm lettuce with HP sauce? tinned carrots with ketchup? What the hell was I thinking? Yet I can’t help but miss the simplicity it sometimes offered me. There was no room for deviation, no thought of trying to think of something new to eat, it was just the way it was and I accepted it. Fully. I made everyone else believe that it was normal and that I was normal. Did I really have them fooled or was I just scaring them into going along with everything because they were afraid of losing me? Then today I was doing my usual drive over the moors and I really considered spending a day, eating the way that I used to just to see if my body could do it. I think my twisted curiosity or need to pick holes in what is left of me is making this recovery thing a lot harder and tiring than it need be. It is bloody difficult right now to really remember how miserable I was. I doubt it. I doubt me. I doubt my memories. I am sad for a time that sometimes I wonder if I’m making up or making it worse than it was. I especially find this true for some of the darker times in my life when I was a completely different person. There was a time when I couldn’t contain myself at all and all I would do is scream, run away and try to die, fighting anyone who tried to stop me. That person seems so far away and yet it’s like she is locked in me, buried under the Anorexia and still screaming. All I want is to shut her up once and for all but I don’t know how. The closest I came to making her quiet was when my body finally started to fail.
Honestly I feel stuck or like I’m waiting for something that changes all this. I had an appointment with my nurse today and she asked me who was I talking to. Who was I being honest with without having the need to backtrack or minimise. All I could tell her was that I was bored of saying I wasn’t ok and therefore couldn’t and didn’t want to do it anymore…yet it is the one thing that I said I would do in regards to relapse prevention. I just feel uncomfortable to right now with it all and I am trying but it’s not ok with me. I want to bury it all and pretend it’s not happening. I did tell her though that I don’t trust them or me when it comes to my meal plans. She told me that I needed to figure out where that was coming from. Was it me who didn’t trust or was it the Eating Disorder? Apparently I need to separate my thoughts from the disorder thoughts, which in theory sounds simple but it’s not because I don’t know where one ends and the other begins. Repeatedly I find myself asking what is real? Every time though I come up without answers.
I’m struggling. My soul is not doing so great. I miss something that tried to kill me. I want to hide for a while…
I hope your day has been kind to you.
There are some days when it feels like my body is struggling to keep up with me. I don’t trust it. I don’t like that it aches and sighs still. I want to yell at it that I have given it everything needs these last few months to be normal and heal, what more can I do? Wasn’t that the point of recovery and of refeeding? To make my body healthy so that I can go about my days without having to pause and catch my breath. I never considered that it might not be enough, that even weight restoration might not make my body forgive me completely for all that I have done to it. If I was in a better frame of mind I would use this as motivation to say “Ok, it’s not there yet but I’m going to keep going and sooner or later it will be fine. I’m going to keep going because clearly the balance that it needs has still not been restored”. However I am not in the best frame of mind these days and me attempting to cling on to recovery and continuously being frustrated by my body makes me want to say “Screw it then, if what I was trying to achieve still hasn’t happened then what’s the point? What is the point of putting myself through this constant mental battle to not get the one thing (healthy body) that made me enter treatment in the first place!”. I am edging closer to the point where I alienate my body again because at least when I was destroying it, I was expecting it to hurt. If I couldn’t catch my breath, if my heart palpitated or my muscles ached or my joints screamed then at least I knew it was because I was living in a starved mode. I could rationalise it. I understood it.
I don’t understand this. I don’t know what my body is trying to tell me. I have this feeling that something is wrong but I can’t put my finger on what that thing is. I know that part of it will always be my fault. I get damaged far too easily purely because I am accident prone. I tend to just do stupid things but the consequences never seem to be straightforward. I feel like I have screwed up and all the signals that my body tries to give me now for either illness or injury get lost and or I can’t interpret them anymore because I am so used to suppressing everything. Do I count this as another repercussion of my Eating Disorder? The list continues to keep on growing. It is times such as this when I hate that I ever engaged in the first place and it’s hard to remind myself that I did not choose this life. I did not choose an Eating Disorder. It is beyond difficult to let myself believe that it isn’t my fault. I campaign to challenge those judgements and yet I am the most judgemental person of all when it comes to myself.
So for now I wait and hope that this passes and that this off feeling I have begins to lessen.
I hope your day is good to you.